Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Miss Darcy Falls in Love
by Sharon Lathan

Genre: Romance / Austenesque / Pride and Prejudice Sequel / Historical

Ages: 16 and up

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. This review is unfortunately very late, but I hope Ms. Lathan will forgive me. To read an interview with the hero of this tale, Sebastian Butler, go here.

This novel is part of the Darcy Saga, taking place partially during the events of volume 5, The Trouble With Mr. Darcy. I think. However, it stands alone quite nicely.


Hugely successful bestselling author (over 150,000 copies sold through) of sensual, romantic Pride and Prejudice continuations explores unusual aspects of the Regency world, this time following Mr. Darcy's younger sister into the world of classical music.

Noble young ladies were expected to play an instrument, but Georgiana Darcy is an accomplished musician who hungers to pursue her talents. She embarks upon a tour of Europe, ending in Paris where two very different men will ignite her heart in entirely different ways and begin a bitter rivalry to win her. But only one holds the key to her happiness.

Set in post-Napoleonic Empire France, Miss Darcy Falls in Love is a riveting love story that enters a world of passion where gentlemen know exactly how to please and a young woman learns to direct her destiny and understand her heart.

My Thoughts:

This story was so sweet. Georgiana Darcy truly makes a marvelous heroine. Out of her brother's watchful shadow, she is just beginning to stretch her wings, and where better to accomplish that than in the City of Lights? She makes many delightful new friends, including the musical, handsome Sebastian Butler. And that is all it is at first: a warm, treasured friendship. Watching it develop into more was a pleasure.

As in all of the best romances, there are things standing in their way. In the case of Miss Darcy Falls in Love, their main obstacles are themselves. They both make mistakes and there are foolish misunderstandings that make me shake my head at their mutual silliness. It was lovely. Poor Lord Caxton really didn't stand a chance.

I really liked the depth of Sebastian Butler as a character. You can really get to know him, to understand and respect him. He's a little older, a little more experienced than Georgiana, reminding me of Mr. Knightley. Georgiana is sweetly naive, but that hardly slows her down. She's the sort of character who might get momentarily confused on her path, but when she makes up her mind she is a force to be reckoned with. 

This is a must for anyone who has read Sharon Lathan's Darcy Saga, but even if you haven't read any of her other books you should give this one a try.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 2.10 for some mild swearing.

I rate it a 7.10 for one fairly descriptive scene, a couple of fade-aways and some innuendo.

There was no violence in this novel.

                        Lieder Madchen


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Interview with Brenda J. Webb + Giveaway!

It is my great pleasure to have Brenda J. Webb visiting today. Recently I tracked her down, and she very kindly sent me a copy of her book, agreed to answer my questions, and to give a copy of her book to you! To read my review of An Honourable Man, go here.

Hello, welcome to Songs and Stories! Would you like a cup of tea? Or perhaps coffee?

A spot of tea with cream and sugar would be lovely.

What was it like the first time you read Pride and Prejudice? What led you to open it?

If I remember correctly, the first time I read it was during an English class when I was about fourteen years old. My motivation for reading was strictly academic, as it was required for that class. At that age, I was not properly awed by Mr. Darcy or Jane Austen’s works, and when I read them after seeing the 2005 movie, I was amazed at how much they had improved! Funny how a little life experience and not being forced to read can improve a novel. I’ve loved Austen ever since.

Are there any authors other than Jane Austen that influenced your writing?

I do not know if they influenced my writing, but I grew up reading stories by Margaret Mitchell, Zane Grey (my father had all his books), and Anna Sewell. Later, I read Boris Pasternak, Pat Conroy, Jackie Collins, Barbara Taylor Bradford, James Patterson, Barbara Cartland, Catherine Marshall and Janet Oke. I have always read anything worthwhile I could get my hands on.

In writing Fitzwilliam Darcy: An Honourable Man, what kinds of scenes did you find the most difficult to write? Which were the most fun?

The scenes that are always the most difficult to write are the love scenes. I try to write scenes that are sensual and romantic and never want to cross the line into anything graphic. I have the most fun writing the repartee between Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. I see his cousin as a bright spot in Darcy’s somber world and someone who tries to raise his spirits. I love writing Richard’s dialogue. It’s always interesting to see what mischief he’ll come up with.

Are you planning on publishing another book soon?

Yes, I have just published Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love on Here is the blurb for my new book:

When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet for the first time, he is already married to another woman. Forced into a loveless marriage to the widowed Lady Gisela Grantham because of his father’s sins, Darcy is obliged by honour to remain in the marriage to hide a dark secret.

That unhappy part of his life, however, is quickly coming to an end as he meets the love of his life in a little-known village in Hertfordshire. Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love is a Pride and Prejudice variation, not a simple retelling. It is the story of a love that was meant to be—a passion too strong to be denied.

Have you considered writing a variation on any of Jane Austen’s other books? Personally, I would love to see your take on Persuasion. :) Ooh, or Northanger Abbey since you have such a lovely gothic writing style... And, I just have to ask because you quoted it in An Honourable Man and I love it so much, have you ever thought about writing a variation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell?

The thought has crossed my mind, but for now, I support my forum, with the proceeds from the sales of my books, and my readers prefer Pride and Prejudice based stories. So, when I am done with writing to support the forum, perhaps I will tackle a Persuasion or North and South variation.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what is your remedy? (I have been attempting to discover my own cure for years, so this question comes in under the realm of personal research.)
If I waited until I felt like writing, I fear my books would never be written, so I force myself to write even when I don’t want to. There are very few days when I do not write something. I find that often all I need do is begin and the words follow.

And now, for something completely different...

White, milk, or dark chocolate? 


Matthew Macfadyen or Colin Firth? 

Matthew Macfadyen, though I do love Colin too.

Night Owl or Early Bird? 

Early Bird.

Thank you so much for letting me ask you all these questions!  

It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for asking me.


And now, for the giveaway! Brenda is giving away a physical copy of one of her books, either  Mr. Darcy's Forbidden Love or An Honourable Man, and a kindle copy for international readers. To enter, leave your e-mail in a comment below, as well as your choice of book and format and something nice for Brenda. :) For extra entries, share this giveaway as much as you can and send me the links! Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. This contest runs until Jan. 7th, 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time. Clicking on the covers above will take you to the books' Amazon pages. Good luck and Merry Christmas!

                         Lieder Madchen

Book Review: Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man by Brenda J. Webb

Fitzwilliam Darcy an Honourable ManFitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man
by Brenda J. Webb

Genre: Romance / Historical / Jane Austen Re-telling / Austenesque

Ages: 17 and up

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thanks, Brenda!


Fitzwilliam Darcy, An Honourable Man is a Pride and Prejudice variation. Not a simple retelling, it is an intriguing new story. Leaving England after his disastrous proposal was refused at Hunsford, Darcy spent two lonely years in Scotland and Ireland before returning home to face Elizabeth Bennet, certain that he could regard her as an indifferent acquaintance. Events that transpired in his absence have left Elizabeth a changed woman. The victim of a marriage by deception to Count Stefano, she has suffered greatly at his hands. Will Mr. Darcy rescue the woman he vowed to forget?

My Thoughts:

I read this book twice in a row before I sat down to review it. The first time, I just got caught up in the story and didn't put it down until I finished it. Then, only a week or so later, I picked it up again and read it a little slower, more carefully. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, the second time around.

This novel is a seemingly effortless blend of the perfect love story of Pride and Prejudice with the darker, Victorian feel of Jane Eyre. For me, this was perfect. I've always loved the darker variations, where our favorite lovers have everything against them. Darcy returns from a long, miserable voyage only to find that the woman he has been trying so hard to forget has been grievously wounded to the point where she no longer speaks. And yet, he does not hesitate to offer is aid. This book shows everything I love most about Fitzwilliam Darcy. His constancy, his honourable nature, and his utter willingness to sacrifice everything to protect those he loves.

Elizabeth is a mystery for a large portion of the book. Since she is unable to communicate, you are left wondering what exactly happened to her. You know only a handful of clues, and even as she slowly comes back to awareness her memory has holes. I love how even at her worst moments, she responds to Darcy. The faith she has in him is lovely.

The minor characters in this book are brilliant. Col. Fitzwilliam, who is concerned that his cousin is ruining his life, yet is unceasing in his support. Georgiana, impulsive and loving. In addition to the traditional cast of characters, you have the pleasure of meeting the wholly new and lovely additions of Evan Ingram, Georgiana's charming husband, Meryton's retired vicar Mr. Williamson, and, my personal favorite, Evelyn Fitzwilliam, the Colonel's mother.

This book is easily one of the top ten Austenesque novels I have read. Just writing this review I'm itching to start reading it a third time...

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for brief mid-level name calling.

I give it a 5.10 for a vague scene, fade-aways and some touching before fading away.

I rate it a 6.10 for intended rape, murder and kidnapping.

                                Lieder Madchen

Songs of the Season!

Welcome to Songs of the Season! It's basically a caroling troupe, blogger style, where a bunch of marvelous people share their favorite Christmas songs. There should be an interesting variety of marvelous music, and I hope you enjoy them all. :) My post is a day late due to blogger malfunctions, sorry. :(

This is not the song I intended to post when I set out to write this post, but it just has so much cheerful energy that I have to share.

Here are links to more music and Christmas cheer, and make sure to thank Sasha Soren for setting this up!

                       Merry Christmas!
                                  Lieder Madchen

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)Scent of Magic
by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy / Romance

Ages: 14 and up

The second book in the Healer series, sequel to  Touch of Power.

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Note: This review contains spoilers from Touch of Power.


As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible ... again.

My Thoughts:

After the fantastic and slightly evil ending to Touch of Power, I couldn't wait for this book! I love Maria V. Snyder...and Kerrick...and Avry....and Kerrick and Avry together...and Kerrick and Avry separated and miserable...OK, I'd better stop rambling and get to the actual review.

I loved this book, but it wasn't quite as good as Touch of Power. I loved the characters (have I mentioned that already?) and I really loved where the story went (sorry, no spoilers), but it seemed almost rambling at times and some scenes were just a little disjointed. I really, really loved the book, but it didn't flow in that beautiful way I've come to expect from Ms. Snyder's novels.

Early in the Scent of Magic, Kerrick and Avry split up. I actually really liked that, which surprised me. Having them apart didn't hinder their romance so much as enrich it. Separate, they could focus more on the individual things they had to do, yet they were always in the back of each others minds no matter what. Still, I am hoping that in book 3 there will be more time for them to spend kissing.

The rest of the band that adventured together in Touch of Power were in fine form, particularly Belen and one who managed to surprise me in quite the delightful fashion. Since they all believed Avry dead at the end of the first one except for Kerrick, watching them meet up again was massively entertaining.

All in all, this was a lovely sequel though not quite as magnificent as the first book, and I would highly recommend it. Enjoy. :)

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for some mid-level name-calling.

I give it a 3.10 for some mildly steamy touching.

I rate it a 6.10 for fighting, murder and brief torture.

                                Lieder Madchen

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Countdown to Reached Writing Contest Entry

On NovelNovice this month, there is a wonderful writing contest to celebrate the countdown to the release date of Reached by Allie Condie. You can go here to read the full instructions on how to enter. :)

For a writing prompt, you get to choose between several different pictures of possible Artifacts. You then write your story and post it somewhere. If you don't have a blog, you can do it on Facebook, Tumblr, or wherever. I based my story on this picture:

A Whistle Day

I clutch the tiny silver whistle tightly in my hand. It’s all I have left of my childhood. I can remember the day my mother gave it to me, the way she folded my fingers around the cold metal.

“Take this with you, to remember us by,” her voice cracked a little, and I could see tears behind her smile. “Save it for a day when you feel very sad, or very happy. It’s days like those when you need music the most.”

She took a step back from me, looking me up and down. She tucked away a curl that had escaped from my braid. “You’re beautiful, Cara. Your match is a very lucky young man, and he will know it the moment he meets you.” She kissed my cheek; her lips were cold. “Live your new life and be happy, but do not forget.”

I haven’t seen my mother since that day, but I’ve never forgotten. It’s been five years, but I’ll never forget.

I hear the door open and a voice softly calls my name. I look up and smile at my match as he bends his tall frame to capture my lips in a kiss. “Is Jem asleep?”

“Mm-hmm,” I murmur, distracted by his strong hands rubbing my shoulders. Our eighteen-month-old son finally resigned himself to bed just half an hour earlier. I lean back and sigh contentedly as Finn gathers me close.

“Cara? Is today a whistle day?” I hear the concern in his voice. He knows I only play it when I'm very sad, or very happy.

“Oh, yes. I played it for Jem earlier when I learned the news.”

“What news?” I can tell from his voice that he is ready to comfort me, and my heart warms even more.

“This news,” I whisper as I slide his hands down to my stomach. I hear his breath catch when he realizes what I mean. “Today is definitely a whistle day.”

I wish my mother could be here to see how well I have taken her advice. I am so very happy, but I have never forgotten. The child growing within me will bear her name if it’s a girl. I will teach her, as I have already started to teach Jem, to remember. And to whistle.


I hope you enjoyed my story and that you decide to write one of your own! NovelNovice's contests are always a lot of fun. :) Plus, make sure to read Reached when it comes out! I love that series. :)

                                    Lieder Madchen

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat Blog Hop! This is where a group of bloggers post about all things Halloween. There will be a new post every day, and, yes, there are some giveaways planned, too, so feel free to join us for sweets and treats this Halloween. This event was set up by the lovely Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic. We had a similar hop last year and it was such a good time we had to do it again!

There are certain books that I just love to read at this time of year. Not all of them are creepy ones, not all of them are Halloween-related, just favorites for curling up in the dark and reading by flashlight. What books do you like to read this time of year? What are you reading this year?

I'll go with the oldest first. I read The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child for the first time when I was maybe 13. It is still one of the darkest, creepiest books I have ever read. Except maybe for their other novel, Still Life With Crows, but I like Cabinet of Curiosities better. It has a nice romance do go along with the crazed murderer and gory removal of body parts. :)

Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen is not a scary novel, despite the cover. It is sweet, sometimes funny, romantic and lovely. In it, Mr. Darcy is a werewolf. He doesn't turn into a rampaging beast by the light of the full moon, but rather into a more realistic wolf. I love this story, and there will be a full review soon.

While on the topic, I might as well hit the other werewolf book on my list. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Anybody who knows me knows how much I love this series. It is so beautiful, so achingly lovely...I already gushed in my review of the full series, which you can read here.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is a recent addition to my favorite Halloween season stories. It is breathtakingly creepy at times and I love the unconventional ghost story. I haven't read the sequel yet, but if it is anywhere close to being as good as the first one, I'll love it.

Die For Me by Amy Plum is a story I fell in love with before I even opened it. Yes, I first loved it for the cover. It didn't take long for the story and characters to steal my heart. I wouldn't call this a scary story; it's got far too much romance for that, but it definitely had some shivery moments. Again, you can read my full review here.

Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin is a new acquisition for me and I haven't even read it yet, but it sure looks like a good Halloween story. Inspired by an Edgar Allen Poe short story and with that creepy cover...It's what I was planning to read this Halloween except that I forgot to take it with me to Washington...I did remember to bring The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, so maybe I'll read that instead. :)

And now, here are some delightful bloggers who would like to share some of their favorite Halloween treats with you. Enjoy!

                                                    Lieder Madchen

Saturday, October 20, 2012

On my way to Steamcon & the Tale of the Marvelous Hat

I'm going to Steamcon! This is so exciting! Tomorrow, my brother and his wife are going to pick me up and I'm going to stay with them for a week and a half, playing games, exploring the Seattle area and then, on the 26th through 28th, I'll be at Steamcon! After that, on Nov. 1st all the museums in Seattle are free, so we're going to go to the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum. It's going to be wonderful. :)

My sister, Livvy, and I have been working on my Steamcon costume, which includes a truly marvelous hat which I have named Sophronia. Here are some pics where we discover the truly difficult art of millinery. There might be some other random pics thrown in, too. :P

 A pair of goggles my sisters found in an old tree stump.

My Powell's order that showed up in the midst of this.

 Livvy trying out the hat brim.

 The top of the hat, which we just had to doodle on.

 A scarf and pair of earrings I picked up at Target and Fred Meyer, respectively. I'm going as a gypsy for the second day. :)

Livvy ironing cardboard for the hat brim.

 The fabric we used to cover the hat.

 More doodles...We mistakenly believed that haberdashery was another word for millinery. By the time we discovered our mistake, it was too late.
Even more doodles...I know, I spelled 'beauteous' wrong. I figured it out about 2 seconds after I wrote it, but it was too late.

Livvy's doodles...

  Clamps and a hot glue gun, very professional.

 More of Livvy's doodles.

Box cutting...lots of box cutting.

Me goofing off...

 It's beginning to look like a hat. The names are names of steampunk characters I've invented recently.

 Pretty flowers...

 Adding fabric...

 Putting it together.

Pretty fall color...

 More clamps, but we're using super glue this time.

 Messing with the camera settings while waiting for the glue to dry. This is called the 'fish eye effect'.

 Goggles are coming along nicely.

 Now for the straps.

 Lovely ribbon to trim the hat.

 Little sister M trying on the hat.

 Me trying on the hat.

 My trying on the goggles.

Livvy with goggles. I just really like this picture. :)

For the rest of my costume, you will just have to wait until I post my pictures from Steamcon. :)

                               Lieder Madchen

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

Dead Time 
by Anne Cassidy

Genre: YA / Mystery / Contemporary

Ages: 15 and up

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


When Rose was twelve, her mother and stepfather went out for dinner and never came back. Now seventeen, she lives with her grandmother and goes to school in London. She’s always wondered about her stepbrother, Joshua, whom she only lived with briefly and who was also relocated after their parents’ disappearance. When Rose and Joshua meet again, they find they have much in common, including a desire to uncover the mystery surrounding their parents’ disappearance . . . and a mutual attraction to each other. But when Rose witnesses the murders of not one but two of her classmates, she must uncover who is behind these violent crimes. And when she and Joshua discover that a much larger conspiracy is underway, both of their lives will be in danger. From international bestseller Anne Cassidy, this first in a fastpaced and romantic new mystery series will keep readers guessing.

My Thoughts:

Hmm, what to say about this book...overall, the word that comes to mind is 'dull'. From beginning to end, this was a dull story set in a dull, grey world with dull, grey characters. It took all of my staying power to actually finish it.

Rose, the heroine, was tired and depressed and not particularly interesting or likable. Reading about her, even I began to feel tired and depressed. Her step-brother, Joshua, was much better but not good enough to save the story. Skeggie, Joshua's best friend, was probably the most entertaining character of the lot.

The plot was completely unbelievable and frequently confusing. While the genre is mystery, it seemed like more of a soap opera of stupidity on the parts of most of the main characters and the villains. The motivations behind the murders were just dumb.

I picked this book because I love mysteries and I love stories set in London. While it had a couple of good ideas to begin with, it didn't go anywhere. It never grabbed me, never made me care about the characters and never sparked.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I give it a 2.10 for two mild swearwords.

I rate it a 2.10 for some sexual innuendos and insults.

I give it a 5.10 for two murders, neither described in detail.

                       Lieder Madchen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Review: Crush by Lacey Weatherford

by Lacey Weatherford

Genre: Contemporary / Young Adult / Mystery / Romance

Ages: 16 and up

I received an advance e-copy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you, Lacey!!!


Cami Wimberley has a plan, and that plan includes no room for boys—especially the big time party animal, Hunter Wilder, no matter how handsome and charismatic he is. She’s beautiful, a senior, extremely talented, gets good grades, and is working her way toward her dream college to be a musical theater major. Everything is perfect.

Hunter Wilder does not want a girlfriend—that would complicate his life way too much right now. He especially doesn’t want this girl, Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, so how come he can’t keep his eyes off her? He tries to keep her at arms length, but fate seems to keep pushing them together. Before long, it’s obvious to everyone they’re crushing on each other.

As sparks begin to fly, Hunter finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into hot water. Soon he’s scrambling to keep Cami from discovering his dark secret—one that can destroy their entire relationship.

My Thoughts:

OK, to be perfectly and completely honest, I wasn't expecting to like this as much as Lacey Weatherford's Of Witches and Warlocks series. So far I've loved everything she's ever written, but I generally prefer fantasy to contemporary. So, I expected to love it, just not quite as much. Hah. I was wrong. This is probably Lacey's best novel yet.

For characters, you have sweet, thoughtful Cami, mysterious, troubled Hunter and geeky, unsettling Clay. I really loved Cami. She's very kind and naive to the point of obliviousness at times, but there's a fierce stubborn streak that only comes out when you push her a little too far.

I thought upon first meeting him that I wasn't going to like Hunter much. He has issues like you wouldn't believe, including drug use and drinking. Despite that, you can't help but like him. He makes you laugh, he makes you sad, he makes you want to hit him upside the head in frustration, but most of all, you want to discover his secret. I came up with all sorts of theories with everything from, oh no, he's a vampire! to, hmm, is he in witness protection?

Clay is a fantastically written character. He's been Cami's best friend forever, but now he wants to be more. From the first scene with him, he gave me the shivers. The, oh dear, this is going to be sooo messy kind of shiver.

The first half of the book is mostly about Cami, though the POV alternates with Hunter. The plot moves at a marvelous pace, growing in suspense even as the focus shifts over to Hunter for the second half. And then that ending! So. Freaking. Awesome. It just pounces on you, and you think, so that's what was going on! It all makes sense now! I wanted to cheer, but it was ridiculously early in the morning and I didn't want to wake anybody up.

Whether or not you've read Lacey's other books, whether or not you like contemporary YA, you'll like Crush. It was fun, serious and adventurous all at once.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for one mid-level swearword and drug use.

I rate it a 4.10 for multiple references and innuendos as well as an attempted rape.

I give it a 5.10 for attempted rape, murder and one scene of violence.

                                Lieder Madchen

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: The Weepers: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker Book Review: The Weepers: The Other Life
by Susanne Winnacker

Genre: Young Adult / Post-apocalyptic / Zombies / Science Fiction

Ages: 14 and up

I received an advance e-copy through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Sherry has lived with her family in a bunker for more than three years. Her grandfather's body has been in the freezer for the last six months, her parents are at each other's throats and two minutes ago, they ran out of food. Sherry and her father must leave the safety of the bunker.

What they find is an empty Los Angeles, destroyed by bombs and haunted by Weepers - savage humans infected with a rabies virus. While searching for food, Sherry's father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a vineyard where a handful of survivors are picking up the pieces of their other lives, before the virus changed everything. Sherry must find a way to help her family, stay alive, and decide whether Joshua is their savior or greatest danger as his desire for vengeance threatens them all.

This debut novel is a page-turner that is not easy to forget.

My Thoughts:

This book was...okay. It's pretty much a classic zombie survival novel; the main characters spend most of their time fleeing from or fighting the zombie-like 'Weepers', who are people infected with a particularly violent form of rabies. The world has gone to heck in a hand-basket to say the least.

The main characters are pretty good; Sherry is the sheltered (she lived in a bomb shelter for over three years) but tough heroine and Joshua is a fighter, a survivor used to taking care of himself and others. The minor characters are decent, but they don't grab you.

Much of the story was very predictable, you could see what was coming around every corner and it never made you jump with surprise. A good zombie story ought to make you jump. It was kind of a cross between the movies Blast from the Past and I am Legend. Not particularly original.

There was nothing I really disliked about this book, just nothing that made me love it, either. It's pretty short, so it's okay for a rainy day if you like the genre, but other than that I wouldn't really recommend it.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I rate it a 4.10 for mid-level swearing.

I give it a 1.10 for very mild hints, some kissing and a past crush.

I give it a 6.10 for death and some goriness.

                               Lieder Madchen

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara

book cover of 

Cast in Peril 

 (Chronicles of Elantra, book 8)


Michelle SagaraCast in Peril
by Michelle Sagara

Genre: Fantasy / Mystery

Ages: 14 and up

This is the eighth book in the Chronicles of Elantra.

I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.



It has been a busy few weeks for Private Kaylin Neva. In between angling for a promotion, sharing her room with the last living female Dragon and dealing with more refugees than anyone knew what to do with, the unusual egg she'd been given was ready to hatch. Actually, that turned out to be lucky, because it absorbed the energy from the bomb that went off in her quarters....

So now might be the perfect time to leave Elantra and journey to the West March with the Barrani. If not for the disappearances of citizens in the fief of Tiamaris-disappearances traced to the very Barrani Kaylin will be traveling with...

My Thoughts:

I feel like the series is finally getting somewhere! Upon discovering this series last year, I knew I loved the characters, but as it went on I began to wonder if the plot was going to continue meandering on in the general direction of learning something about Kaylin's 'Chosen' status or just fizzle out. This book reassured me, and now I can hardly wait for the next one.

One thing I loved about this book is that there were actually signs of Severn and Kaylin's relationship changing. Anyone who has read the earlier books knows what I mean. Will they keep to the pattern of caring but not touching, or will we get a kiss? That is one of the delightful questions that keeps you  in suspense throughout the series.

Cast in Peril starts with a bang - literally - when someone throws a bomb through Kaylin's window. Is she the target, or is her roommate, who happens to be the only female dragon? They survive due to the hatching of a most peculiar creature who is in itself a mystery. Since the emotions of everyone other than Kaylin tend to be kind of subdued in this series, it was interesting to watch the various reactions from her friends.

All in all, this was one of my favorite books in the series, but I still wish Ms. Sagara would pick up the pace a little.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I give it a 3.10 for a couple of insulting terms.

I rate it a 2.10 for mild sexual references.

I give it a 5.10 for fighting and death.

                              Lieder Madchen